Sunday, May 22, 2005

Closed captioning and Google.

Hypothetical Google-sponsored Closed Captioning
Originally uploaded by IvyMike.
Virtually all televisions manufactured after 1993 decode closed captions. A long time ago, I got in the habit of leaving the captioning feature turned on. I've noticed that the color capability of the system is rarely used, at least in this country. (The only example I've seen of good color use in captioning is the Alanis Morissette "Ironic" video; there's a car with four versions of Alanis, and the lyrics are colored to indicate which of the Alanises is speaking.)

Google uses the closed captioning feature in their video search feature; search. Enter "trampoline-related injuries", and you'll get back a list of newscasts that contain those words.

On most shows, as the credits roll, the captions are used to advertise the captioning company ("CAPTIONS BY VITAC") and a sponsor.

You can probably see where this is all leading. As far as I know, Google doesn't advertise on TV, but if they ever choose to, they should make sure to sponsor the closed captioning. Not only because they use that data for their video search, but because what other company's logo would be so uniquely suited to the closed-captioning color feature?


At 12:25 PM, May 26, 2005, Anonymous Joe said...


They should absolutely do that.

How often are captions "sponsored" by a regular company (not the company doing the captioning themself)?

At 1:17 PM, May 26, 2005, Blogger IvyMike said...

For prime-time shows, the captioning is alsost always sponsored by a real company (Ford, AT&T). For news shows and educational programming, the sponsor is usually the U.S. Department of Education, or the network itself. The closed captioning companies usually advertise their services and URL, but aren't the actual sponsor.

Some shows have a "primary" advertiser (Ford runs a lot of commercials during Alias, and has a lot of product-placement in the show itself), and in those cases, the captioning is usually sponsored by that advertiser.


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